Imagining What’s Possible & Making It Happen
At Grin, I have to (humbly) say that I have the coolest job: Director of Innovation. Sounds great, right? But what does it mean? Working within a company that’s redefining the dental category using technology, I spend most of my time building proof of concepts and working to demonstrate what’s possible. My goal is to plot a vision and take our products to the edge of possibility in order to give our customers the best treatment, experience, and value.
With every investigation I embark on, I always keep in mind that Grin is customer-obsessed: everything we do is in service to everyone in our ecosystem. So, while I’m thinking big, I often ensure that I’m zeroing in on implementations that align with Grin’s values.
Lean Startup Methodologies
I’ve learned that one change can lead to a waterfall of other ideas. I begin to work through these solutions while also thinking about other opportunities/products/concepts that can come out of any of these changes. The way I learn something like that is by asking questions about reality through experimentation. Specifically, I implement the Lean Startup method by working in fast Build-Measure-Learn cycles. Each cycle is designed to answer a specific question about reality, and the experiment can be about anything—a change to the product, running a simulation, or even just a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Complementary to my BSc in physics I also hold a BSc in Engineering so I’m able to take abstract concepts of physics and think about how they can become reality. I’m also a tinker and 3D printing fanatic, so along with my questions, I can prototype in real-time. Following the breadcrumbs for the path of least resistance can yield some of the most profound results.
For example, while embarking on a PD project for our Grin Scope, I ask the questions of reality and possibility while continuously assessing Grin’s value-based parameters:
- User experience: is it easy to use?
- Utility: is it being used as intended?
- Output quality: are we providing the best intraoral teeth frames?
- Extra value add: can we change the way people think and care for their oral health?
When I start an innovation cycle, I begin by asking a series of questions about a product, the market, technology, etc. Then, I run experiments to answer the questions that I asked from the onset. However, every time I get to the Learn phase, I pay extra close attention. From my experience, at this stage, I often find answers to other questions that I wasn’t initially asking. All of the sudden, the door is open for exponentially more directions to explore. For example, when testing a change in geometry for the Grin Scope, I printed out the new geometry in my 3D printer. I was forced to use the plastic color that I currently had, which was different from the current Scope pigment. Although I set out to test the geometry, I learned that the color change also had multiple effects on the scan that I didn’t expect. All of the sudden, I had new avenues to explore, and new hypotheses to test.
This is how I approach each day in my job. Being the Director of Innovation means leaving no stone unturned. I continually hone my acute inspirational sensitivity, as even the smallest detail can lead to the next big change. My innovative pursuits at Grin will not only lead to new hardware and software but business opportunities and products. This is what makes the role so dynamic, and one that continually sets Grin apart.
Interested in joining a company that thrives on building innovative technology to make patient-centric solutions? If so, Grin is the place for you – careers.